Saddled Prominent

2013 February 27

Next up from the May 26, 2012 moths that came to the light is this dark gray, very fuzzy moth. Even fuzzier than usual, I mean. The head is fuzzy, the body is fuzzy, the abdomen is fuzzy, even the edges of the wings are fuzzy.

And the face is very, very fuzzy.

Browsing through the Peterson Field Guide to Moths, the only really good candidate I found is the Saddled Prominent, Heterocampa guttivitta. Checking the BugGuide pictures, it looks like the species is somewhat variable, but the darker forms look a lot like this specimen. And are indeed very fuzzy.

The caterpillars are green with a brown saddle mark on them, and the Peterson guide says that they eat leaves of pretty much any broadleaved woody plant.

In some moths, the fuzz on the body is to help them warm up their wing muscles so that they can fly in cold weather and at night. That might be part of the reason that this one is so fuzzy, but I think it is also to help break up its outline for camouflage purposes. I kind of wonder whether it also reduces the echo return to hunting bats, giving it a bit of “stealth” when flying at night. Anybody have a small sonar unit so that we can check echo strength from moths with different amounts of fuzziness?

One Response
  1. February 27, 2013

    Borrowed a photo, linked back and even added a special Addams Family video!

Comments are closed.